Pheromones are a chemical substance secreted by an animal and deposited into the environment by an animal as a communication signal that can affect the behavior or physiology of others of its species or itself.
How are pheromones detected?
The vomeronasal organ (VNO), also called the Jacobson’s Organ, is responsible for the detection of pheromones.
The opening to this organ is called the incisive papilla and is located just behind the dog’s incisors in the roof of the mouth. The pheromone enters the VNO, triggers nerve receptors which allows the nerves to conduct nerve impulses directly to the brain of the dog resulting in a behavior change.
Where do pheromones work?
Pheromones affect the amygdala which is responsible for emotional learning and the fear response.
Once the pheromone detecting nerves are triggered, impulses are sent to this area of the dog’s brain – helping to reduce the behavioral responses to fear.
How safe are pheromones?
Pheromones never enter the systemic circulation and there are no known adverse effects of using them.
They may also be safely combined with any additional management strategies, including medication, needed to help your noise phobic patient.
How effective are pheromones?
Pheromone products are clinically proven to help reduce the behavioral responses to fear associated with noise phobia.
For example, in a study of 30 dogs who showed fear of fireworks (all dogs experienced at least 4 firework events) – dogs that were exposed to a pheromone product such as ADAPTIL® showed significant improvements in the owners’ rating of 9 of the 14 behavioral signs of fear that were examined and a decrease in media frequency of 13 of the 14 signs of fear.4
In addition, 22 of 30 owners reported a significant lower overall fear rating.
4Sheppard G, Mills DS. Evaluation of dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) as a potential treatment for dogs fearful of fireworks. Veterinary Record, 2003; 152, 432-436
ADAPTIL® is a registered trademark of Ceva Santé Animale S.A.